DSCF1606

Thinking Digital Newcastle, 2016

Last year, I remember talking to Chris Dymond and Saul Cozens just after they returned from Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle/Gateshead. They raved about how good it was. So did others I’d seen mention it online. I decided to go the following year and, as the 2016 tickets were already on sale, I booked one more or less straight away.

It was as good as I’d hoped. And so, partly to remind myself of all I learned, partly to share it with colleagues and friends, and partly to persuade you to go in 2017, here are my notes on #TDC16:
Continue reading Thinking Digital Newcastle, 2016

Me at the Vibrant Sheffield Live Lab

Vibrant Sheffield

I recently attended Grant Thornton’s Sheffield “Vibrant Economy” Live Lab at the Millennium Galleries.

This day-long workshop was intended to “bring together key leaders and influencers … to co-create a visionary identity for Sheffield and the wider city region”, posing the question “How can Sheffield become the innovation and creativity capital of Europe?”

It’s easy to by cynical (many of my friends are) about a swish event, laid on by a big financial consultancy firm, around a woolly, warm, fuzzy-sounding topic. But I like to approach things with an open mind. I have heard good things about Sacha Romanovitch, Grant Thornton’s new CEO, and the kind of right-thinking policies she’s implementing. I was sure it would at least be an interesting day.

It was. And it was inspiring. It generated reams of ideas — good, bad, intermediate, and plain silly — for the betterment of Sheffield. And, coming to it fresh from Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle/Gateshead, my mind was fully fired-up for some brainstorming and refining of big audacious plans.
Continue reading Vibrant Sheffield

Student elections at Sheffield University

Small Things

Last week, the area around the Students Union at Sheffield University became littered once more with banners and posters, indicating that student elections were about to take place. It reminded me of something from my past. Something very small, but which changed my life. Something I had long forgotten, but am eternally grateful for.
Continue reading Small Things

Empty Space playlist episode 0001

This is the return of the Empty Space art radio show after a hiatus of seven-and-a-half years. To commemorate this dawning of a new era, this show is numbered 0001.

The DJ is a robot.

The show is available to play and download, for a short time, on Soundcloud, and for a long time, on Mixcloud.

The playlist is below.

  1. Eccentronic Research Council – Mind Yore Language, from the album Magpie Billy & The Egg that Yolked(A Study of the Northern Ape in Love)
  2. Alan WattsPure Sound (soundclip from Alan Watts website)
  3. Spike Jones and his City Slickers – Pimples and Braces, from the album Go Crazy with Spike Jones
  4. Baba Naga – Osku Til Osku, from the EP Baba Naga
  5. Air – The Ragtime Dance, from the album Air Lore
  6. Zali Krishnaepisode 1 of our weekly serial, Near Andromeda
  7. Hans Albers – Das Herz von St. Pauli, from the album Das Herz von St. Pauli
  8. Klaus Johann Grobe – Koordinaten, from the album Klaus Johann Grobe
  9. Spratleys Japs Vine, from the album Pony
  10. Jerry Goodman & Jan Hammer – Full Moon Boogie, from the album Like Children
  11. Matthew Clegg, stood by the canal at Mexborough, reads his poem The Sinkhole, from his collection The Navigators
  12. Champion Kickboxer – Thinking, from their album Perforations
  13. Screaming Maldini – Last Day Of The Miner’s Strike (Pulp cover), from the compilation album Which Side Are You On, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike
  14. Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere – When Thin Clouds Scud Across A Bright Moon, from the album Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere
  15. William D Drake – Liferaft, from the album Revere Reach
  16. Toucans – I don’t believe in that, from the album Toucans
  17. Raymond Scott and Dorothy Collins – Tiger Rag, from the album At Home with Dorothy and Raymond
Olivetti VoiceMail Workshop Certificate - Dan Sumption has attended

I don’t do Voicemail

I have never liked voicemail.

I’m not keen on phones in general (there is a great Medium post, Why I don’t answer most phone calls, which explains why the telephone is my least-preferred means of communication).

But voicemail, ick. Unlike phone calls, voicemail has no redeeming features.

Here are the reasons why voicemail is evil and needs to be burned with fire:
Continue reading I don’t do Voicemail

Sheffugees hackathon

Sheffugees

This weekend I attended a “Sheffield refugee hackathon” organised by the folks at Yoomee. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, having never been to a hackathon before, and being unsure how well the fairly specific set of application-development skills I’ve been using over the last few years would generalise to building something that could be of benefit to refugees and asylum-seekers, but it was a great experience and I’m really looking forward to the next one (which should be happening in around 6 weeks time).
Continue reading Sheffugees

Your Detox-debunking article is Bullshit

It’s that time of year when a lot of folks’ thoughts turn to detoxing. It’s also the time when a lot of other folks’ thoughts turn to rubbishing the idea that detoxing could ever be anything beneficial. As a some-time scientist, logical positivist, gleeful-debunker and proud skeptic, you might hazard a guess at where I stand on this. No. I’m firmly on the side of the detoxers.

My anti-anti-detox-bullshit detectors went into overload yesterday when I saw a friend share a Cosmopolitan (I know, I know, fish: barrel) article entitled Why Your Detox Is Bullsh*t. I’ll happily admit I didn’t read the article – life’s too fucking short. My immediate response to the headline was:
Continue reading Your Detox-debunking article is Bullshit